Grayson awarded benefit year

Paul Grayson, the Essex allrounder, has been granted a benefit year by the club for next season.

Grayson, 33, joined Essex from his native Yorkshire in 1996, and has since scored over 8000 first-class runs and taken 136 wickets with his left-arm spin. He also played two one-day internationals for England between 2000 and 2001.

"I'm very happy to have been awarded my benefit and look forward to a very busy year in 2005 both on and off the field," Grayson told the club website today. "I have had many happy years at Essex and thank everyone connected with the club for the support they have given to me since my move down from Yorkshire."

Darren Gough, Grayson's new team-mate at Essex, added his own comments. "I'm delighted for Paul," Gough told the website. "I played with him as a youngster at Yorkshire and it's good to be reunited with him at Essex. He's just forced his way back into the side now and scored a fine hundred last week against Nottinghamshire.

"It's nice that Paul has been rewarded for his time at Essex and perhaps he'll be able to start repaying me for all the things I've done for him once he's had his benefit!"